H.264, also known as MPEG-4 Part 10/AVC for Advanced Video Coding, is the latest MPEG standard for video encoding. H.264 is expected to become the video standard of choice in the coming years. This is because an H.264 encoder can, without compromising image quality, reduce the size of a digital video file by more than 80% compared with the Motion JPEG format and as much as 50% more than with the MPEG-4 standard. This means that much less network bandwidth and storage space are required for a video file. Or seen another way, much higher video quality can be achieved for a given bit rate.
H.264 was jointly defined by standardization organizations in the telecommunications (ITU-T’s Video Coding Experts Group) and IT industries (ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group), and is currently more widely adopted than previous standards. In the video surveillance industry, H.264 has found the quickest traction in applications where there are demands for high frame rates and high resolution, such as in the surveillance of highways, airports and casinos, where the use of 30/25 (NTSC/PAL) frames per second is the norm. This is where the economies of reduced bandwidth and storage needs will deliver the biggest savings.
H.264 has accelerated the adoption of megapixel cameras since the highly efficient compression technology can reduce the large file sizes and bit rates generated without compromising image quality. There are tradeoffs, however. While H.264 provides savings in network bandwidth and storage costs, it will require higher performance network cameras and monitoring stations. A size comparison between the main compression standards is shown in the figure shown below.
Also, the figure shown below shows the comparison of common compression formats with the focus on video quality (Peak Signal to Noise Ratio) versus the bandwidth consumption and bitrate. Most of the RedLeaf cameras support H.264 compression platform.